Brexit ‘retro-nationalists’ are ‘leaving the ship,’ says Jean-Claude Juncker

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. © Francois Lenoir
High profile withdrawals and resignations among Brexiteers in the wake of the EU referendum vote show that Britain’s “retro-nationalists” are running away from the situation they created, according to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Juncker told the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday that “the Brexit heroes of yesterday are now the sad Brexit heroes of today.

Branding leading Brexiteers “retro-nationalists,” Juncker said: “Patriots don’t resign when things get difficult, they stay.

Instead of developing the plan, they are leaving the boat,” he added.

The ‘sinking ship’ analogy has become a popular trope to describe the Brexit. Hollywood actor Christopher Waltz used it in a Sky News interview on Monday, describing UKIP’s Nigel Farage as a rat.

Former Belgian PM turned MEP Guy Verhofstadt told the European Parliament on Monday: “Brexiteers remind me of rats leaving the sinking ship.

What are you waiting for – the next referendum in France, in Italy maybe,” he raged.

The criticism centers on Leave campaigner and Tory MP Boris Johnson, who caused a furor by pulling out of the Tory leadership race on Thursday.

Arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage, who resigned as UKIP leader on Monday, said he had never been a career politician and that he now wanted to have time to himself.

It emerged on Tuesday afternoon that the MEP will now be filling Katie Hopkins’ slot on Sunday mornings on LBC radio.